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NFL Star’s Case Takes Wind Out of Dog Fighting

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Chicago’s top cop working against animal abuse says interest in pitting dogs against one another has waned since NFL star Michael Vick pled guilty to a federal charge in August.

Amid a wave of Chicago-area dog-fighting cases this summer, Cook County sheriff’s deputies found 37 starving pit bulls in a South Holland barn. It was the largest dog-fighting bust in Illinois history.

Then the Atlanta Falcons quarterback pled guilty to planning an interstate dog-fighting ring. At his sentencing next month, Vick could receive up to five years in prison.

Sgt. Eldon Urbikas, commander of the Chicago Police Department’s Animal Crimes Unit, says abusive breeders in the area have taken note.

URBIKAS: They’re seeing that Michael Vick is going to jail: ‘There’s a good chance I’m going to go to jail too.’

Sgt. Urbikas says this year’s animal-cruelty arrests by the city total 55, most related to dog fighting. He’s among area officials setting up a regional task force to combat the illegal sport. They’re hoping for funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

I’m Chip Mitchell, Chicago Public Radio.

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